Liverpool thrash Everton in derby

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Liverpool celebrate their fourth goal. Pic by Husøy

Liverpool celebrate their fourth goal. Pic by Husøy

A scintillating performance by Liverpool subjected Everton to a humiliating 4-0 defeat in the 222nd Merseyside Derby at Anfield.

Liverpool fans watched in delight as goals from Steven Gerrard, a pair by Daniel Sturridge and yet another for Luis Suarez secured their biggest win in this fixture since 1982, keeping them in fourth place and now within six points of top side Arsenal.

The attacking promise in the match was evident from the start, as Ross Barkley signalled his return to the Everton team with a shot that flew just over the bar inside the second minute.

It proved to be a false dawn, however, as Liverpool quickly seized control and proceeded to torment Everton.

It seemed as though every Liverpool player was invited to have a go at goal, with Tim Howard forced into save after save by Brendan Rodgers’ rampant side.

Reds captain Steven Gerrard, who thanked Everton fans for their support of the Hillsborough campaign in the wake of this match, opened the scoring. As Luis Suarez swung in a corner, the Liverpool skipper rose above Antolin Alcaraz at the near post to power a header into the back of the net.

Everton’s misery was compounded straight away when Romelu Lukaku, their top goal scorer, then had to be substituted due to a suspected ankle ligament injury.

Had Daniel Sturridge not been wrongly flagged offside when he and Suarez broke free of Everton’s defence soon after that, Liverpool would almost certainly have doubled their lead.

He wouldn’t be denied for long, though.

While it seemed as though Everton were beginning to make a comeback, finally testing Simon Mignolet in the 30th minute, their defence entered self-destruct mode.

Showing confidence that bordered on swagger, Liverpool entered the opposition half, and Coutinho went unchallenged as he received the ball. He found Sturridge in acres of space with a simple, effective pass, and the England striker made it 2-0 with a curling finish from just inside the area.

It was Liverpool's biggest Merseyside Derby win since they beat Everton 5-0 at Goodison Park in 1982. Pic © Liverpool FC/Twitter

It was Liverpool’s biggest Merseyside Derby win since they beat Everton 5-0 at Goodison Park in 1982. Pic © Liverpool FC/Twitter

Somehow, Everton conspired to defend even more comically for Liverpool’s third. The normally reliable Phil Jagielka made a poor mistake that gave Sturridge possession, and he showed excellent technique to lob the ball over Tim Howard for his sixth goal in five games.

Everton spent the rest of the half huffing and puffing, but rarely looked threatening. In truth, it was Liverpool who continued to threaten, their sensational pace a constant danger on the counter.

Whatever Roberto Martinez said at half-time at least sent Everton out with a sense of purpose, as they pressed high up the pitch and suddenly looked dangerous.

It was all for nothing, though, when another Liverpool counter-attack caught them short and Suarez made it four. The simplicity of the goal shouldn’t take away from the poise of Suarez, who ran the length of Everton’s half after stealing possession and tucked the ball away neatly.

Liverpool had the opportunity to add another when Howard brought down Raheem Sterling and conceded a penalty. Daniel Sturridge, perhaps feeling sorry for the away side, smashed the ball over the bar, thus failing to get a hat-trick.

It didn’t deter Liverpool as they were insatiable throughout, and seemed to be on a mission to torture their abject rivals.

Liverpool were as unyielding at the back as their team-mates were irresistible up front. Try as they might, Everton couldn’t get through, and the game ended 4-0 after a special derby display by the Reds.

About Paul McIntyre, JMU Journalism